VisionLink Blog

By Ken Gibson

July 20, 2016

Why a Pay Philosophy is a CEO’s Best Friend


An article that appeared in Entrepreneur Magazine’s  online edition late last year made the following observation about compensation:

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By Ken Gibson

July 12, 2016

5 Factors Successful CEOs Use to Create Growth-Oriented Pay Strategies


CEOs of successful companies view every business asset as an engine of growth, including compensation.  As a result, they are constantly examining the impact of rewards on key results and outcomes the business needs to achieve to fulfill the growth expectations its leaders have envisioned.  They recognize that pay can either be a drag on growth or a strategic tool that drives it.  So, let’s talk about how to get less drag and more drive.

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By Ken Gibson

July 06, 2016

What Should Be Your Highest Compensation Planning Priority--Right Now?


Most business leaders would love to find a single pay strategy that could become the solution to all of their compensation problems.  It would be even better if it also carried a label that said something like this: “Just adopt this plan and all of your employees will perform exactly how you want them to.”  If it existed, it would be the Holy Grail of rewards design.  Companies of all sizes would rush to implement such a plan without delay.

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By Ken Gibson

June 24, 2016

How Effective CEOs Build a Performance Culture


If you are the CEO of a business, it is likely you see a gap between the company performance you want and the performance your organization is experiencing.  If that is not true, there’s no need to read any further.  However, if that is true, it’s probable you are very frustrated.  Perhaps you feel as though you are pressing on the gas pedal while those around you have their foot on the brakes.  However, as a smart business leader you also recognize that if performance isn’t where you want it, the buck stops with you.  So let’s talk about what successful CEOs do to create and sustain a performance culture.

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By Ken Gibson

June 17, 2016

5 Signs a CEO Needs to Change the Company’s Pay Strategy


Once upon a time, business planning was pretty straight forward.  You set growth targets, developed KPIs and budgets, fired up your people and then launched a new and improved business strategy laced with optimism and high expectations.  In today’s environment, strategy building must be much more fluid.  Planning processes have to be adaptable.  The pace of change requires CEOs to be nimble; able to “turn on a dime” when necessary to alter the trajectory of the businesses they lead.  All of this makes the chief executive’s response to compensation planning more important than ever.  Here is why.

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By Ken Gibson

June 10, 2016

6 Questions CEOs Should Ask About their Company's Pay Strategy


If you lead an enterprise, you want your rewards strategy to be an asset and not a liability to your business model and growth goals.  If that’s going to occur, your planning team will need to provide satisfactory answers to some important questions.  The responses you get will tell you much about whether you’re positioned for success or heartache—and what role you'll want to assume in the compensation development process of your company

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By Ken Gibson

June 03, 2016

How CEOs Should Pay “Strategic Leaders”


A recent Strategy+Business article, based on a 2015 PwC study, made the following observation:

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By Ken Gibson

May 27, 2016

The CEO Dilemma: Reward Short or Long-Term Performance?


In an article for Strategy+Business, Ken Favaro offered the following perspective about organizational growth:

"Peter Drucker once wrote that the manager’s job is to keep his nose to the grindstone while lifting his eyes to the hills. He meant that every business has to operate in two modes at the same time: producing results today and preparing for tomorrow.

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By Ken Gibson

May 20, 2016

The 5 Biggest Mistakes CEOs Make Regarding Pay


CEOs are (typically) smart people.  I mean, let's face it.  You aren’t hired to run a company if you don’t possess strategic, managerial and leadership skills that can positively impact business growth and improve shareholder value and return.   As a result, it is perplexing to see the simple yet highly consequential mistakes so many chief executives make when it comes to compensation.  Here are the five most common “unforced” errors I see committed.

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By Ken Gibson

May 10, 2016

Compensation and the Growth Mindset Organization


Carol Dweck’s work regarding growth versus fixed mindset individuals has been extended to the business world in recent years.  Among other things, the studies are showing that: “Supervisors in growth-mindset companies expressed significantly more positive views about their employees than supervisors in fixed-mindset companies, rating them as more innovative, collaborative, and committed to learning and growing.  They were more likely to say that their employees had management potential.”  (“How Companies Can Profit from a ‘Growth Mindset’,” Harvard Business Review, November 2014, HBR Staff)

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By Ken Gibson

April 29, 2016

The CEO’s Role in Building a Pay Strategy


It is not unusual for a chief executive to rely on human resources to manage the compensation programs of the business. The CEO doesn’t want to get involved in the minutia of who is getting a wage increase this year or what salary band every group of employees falls in.  It’s not his role and a focus on such details would dilute his ability to lead the company effectively.  However, there are certain pay issues that only the company’s primary business leader can properly address. 

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By Ken Gibson

April 15, 2016

Why Private Business Loves Phantom Stock


In VisionLink’s work with leaders of privately-owned, mid-sized businesses, we are commonly engaged to help engineer a long-term incentive plan (LTIP).  The intent these companies have in setting up such a plan is to share value with those who help fuel organizational success over an extended period.  However, the hope of shareholders in these private companies is to accomplish that without diluting equity—without giving away actual stock. That combination (sharing value without diluting equity) most often leads these enterprises to choose some kind of phantom stock plan. Let’s explore why.

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By Ken Gibson

April 06, 2016

Does Pay Impact Employee Engagement?


An engaged employee is like the star student in an elementary or high school class.  The teacher recognizes the pupil’s work ethic and commitment and wants her other students to be “just like that one.”  So she sets up a system of rewards and punishments designed to promote the model behavior she’s trying to encourage and inhibit the kind she’s trying to suppress.  The hope is that this “ying and yang” approach will prompt a loyalty to learning—and instill the conduct the teacher prefers. The report card becomes the means of measuring whether it’s all working. More often than not, the metrics on that appraisal evidence it’s not.

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By Ken Gibson

March 25, 2016

What Business is Learning About Attracting Millennials


Corporate America is starting to figure out that it needs a strategy for attracting and retaining great millennial talent.  As a group, millennials represent the largest segment of the global workforce and therefore are a critical—and unavoidable—source for recruiting top performers. And little by little, businesses are learning what it takes to create a compelling value proposition for this emerging generation of employees.

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By Ken Gibson

March 18, 2016

6 LTIP Alternatives to Sharing Stock


Many private business owners and CEOs live with regret. They bemoan sharing equity with one or more employees and feel like they opened a Pandora’s Box by doing so. “I didn’t want to lose this person and they wanted equity—so I gave them stock,” is the common rationale offered when explaining why they expanded the ownership pool.  In other words, there was urgency to retain or attract a key person—and an assumption was made that they would lose that talent if they didn’t grant him or her shares. Expediency ruled the day.

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CLIENT SUCCESS STORIES

"VisionLink has helped us successfully navigate a number of complex issues regarding our rewards programs. It has dealt with all facets of these varied issues with a high degree of competence, integrity, and straight forward advice. VisionLink's experienced team has consistently delivered first class results in a timely, professional manner and has become a valued Storm partner."

Thomas K. Grzywacz
Storm Industries, Inc.

"VisionLink has helped us successfully engineer a long-term incentive plan that has empowered our company to reward and retain key talent while increasing shareholder value. The knowledge, patience and deep experience of its team members helped us navigate a road that was unfamiliar to us. Ultimately, VisionLink designed a plan that met the high standards of both stockholders and key management employees. We have further engaged VisionLink to address our business succession and transition planning needs."

Reggie Dupre'
Dupre Logistics

"Over the past several years, National Technical Systems has engaged VisionLink to provide insight and direction on a number of executive compensation issues, as well as a performance evaluation of our 401(k) plan. Under its direction, NTS completely revamped executive level rewards to align with our business growth objectives and the strategic plan of the company. VisionLink's insight and direction have been invaluable. NTS has achieved its growth objectives and our executives feel appropriately rewarded for their performance."

Bill McGinnis
National Technical Systems

"VisionLink arrived on the scene just in time for us. We needed a new framework for our short-term and long-term incentive plans. VisionLink's modeling and forecasting process broadened our horizons and expanded our view of how to use a good incentive system to build, retain and strengthen our senior management team. We remain impressed by their expertise, professionalism and great service."

James Keng
Jimway, Inc.

"Our firm has had a long-term incentive plan for over eight years but we never quite felt like it was firing on all cylinders. We hired VisionLink to re-energize our plan, and they did it! We now have a cohesive awards strategy that's fair to shareholders and valued by our employees. VisionLink's team is technically skilled and very creative. We're happy to recommend VisionLink to firms looking to upgrade their management incentive programs."

John M
FTO Inc.

"Our company was like VisionLink's typical clients. We were great at sales and haphazard at how we compensated our people. VisionLink's process brings great clarity and confidence to our growth planning - and makes compensation a great growth capability."

Dan Sullivan
Strategic Coach ©

"The team at VisionLink helped our company structure a long-term incentive plan that parallels the company's strategy for continued growth as a global market leader within our industry. Their approach resulted in a program that our corporate team and executives embraced on both a professional and personal basis. Through VisionLink's guidance and execution, we were able to create both a motivational tool for current team members and a recruiting device to attract future executive level associates. Well done!"

Mark Rhoades
Fluidmaster, Inc.

"As a leading direct seller of scrapbook photo albums and supplies, Creative Memories has independent consultants across the country. And for over six years now, VisionLink has helped us to stay connected and administer a voluntary 409A non-qualified plan for them. VisionLink has provided support for all aspects of our plan from notification of eligibility through registration and distribution. The VisionLink support team has offered suggestions for improving processes and provided us with outstanding service year after year."

Guy Walker
Creative Memories North America